July 13, 2020
Across Canada, provinces have annouced frameworks for gradually reopening communities and businesses. In light of this, and with UEE's newly adapted standards for hygiene, physical distancing and health reporting implemented at our facilities, UEE has updated our COVID-19 Safety Plan to the following:
COVID - 19 Safety Plan
UEE and WRE are committed to the health and safety of employees and their families, our customers and our community stakeholders. We have implemented protocols reflective of industry best practices, and in compliance with provincial health authorities. Further, it is incumbent upon the entire organization, including our workforce and Board of Directors, to actively participate in behaviors and precautions to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as act responsibly to take appropriate measures to prevent potential spreading of the virus.
Outlined in this Safety Plan are measures and protocols implemented at our facilities, along with precautions our workforce is required to maintain at work, and are encouraged to also practice in daily life at home and visits to any place that people frequently visit.
Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee Involvement
The Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC) has incorporates reviews of COVID-19 measures during periodic Health & Safety inspections. The Committee also collects feedback from employees, which is shared by the JOHSC, and is then reviewed and actions are assigned where appropriate.
Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness. This means keeping a distance of at least two (2) arms lengths (approximately 2 meters) from others, as much as possible.
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s behavioral guidelines are a useful summary and have been posted at locations throughout our facilities. This can also be found online located here: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publicati...
To reduce interactions in our workplaces in compliance with physical distancing, the following measures have been implemented:
- Signs are posted showing maximum capacity in meeting rooms and lunchrooms, and/or the requirement for 2 meters of physical spacing.
- Meetings, including quarterly Board of Directors meetings, are conducted by teleconference or online meeting tools when possible.
- Staggered/flexible lunch and break times for office staff, as well employees can remain at their desks for break periods.
- As of June 29 2020, changes were made allowing for customers to visit and suppliers, as well as regular visits from suppliers that help manage inventory/supplies.
- Production staff in manufacturing have been assigned separate lunchrooms with seating at 2 meter spacing.
- Employees working in continued close proximity (less than 2 meters) are required to wear a company-provided Face Mask or Face Shield.
Work from Home (Case by Case Basis) and Distancing:
Personal hygiene reminders and enhanced Workspace cleaning
In addition to physical distancing, practicing good personal hygiene is also proven to be effective in preventing the spread of illness. Below are reminders about what constitutes good personal hygiene habits:
1. Handwashing – Frequent handwashing with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing is required. Hand sanitizer is available around the facilities and should be used as an additional preventative step, or when handwashing is not immediately possible. Visitors will be requested to wash his or her when entering our premises. More info on proper methods of handwashing from the Government of Canada can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-heal...
2. Coughing, Sneezing and Hygiene – “Stop the Spread of Germs” from the CDC, illustrates the basic tips to contain the spread of germs from coughing or sneezing. Another bad habit to break - avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This information and illustrations can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-g...
3. Cleaning and Disinfecting –The company has increased cleaning and disinfecting measures on frequently touched surfaces and in high traffic areas in our offices and manufacturing areas. Surfaces most likely to be contaminated include doorknobs, handrails, light switches, cabinet handles, tables and countertops, lift equipment and hand-held power tools.
4. Disinfecting Personal Workspaces – To further support workspace maintenance, each office department has been supplied with disinfectant spray for use on any surface frequently used, even if just by one person (e.g. not necessarily high-traffic zones).
5. Cell Phone Cleaning - There is some uncertainty on how long the virus can last on smooth surfaces like a smartphone screen. It is strongly recommended that you clean your cell phone regularly and that means daily. Use a 70% alcohol wipe or Clorox/Lysol Disinfecting Wipe to clean the dirty surfaces of any item that you are in regular contact with daily.
COVID-19 Call-in/Tracking Mechanism
This system allows for traceability of employees who may have called sick or employees who have chosen to be in self-isolation for personal reasons. This system compiles employees’ symptoms, medical advice received, as well this process ensures that employees do not return to work until the isolation period has been completed. Included in this process is a COVID-19 Absence-related Reporting Procedure, which is a tool used by Supervisors to ask questions regarding possible COVID-19 exposure, and consistently and appropriately support employees who are ill. As well this procedure provides accurate information related to our company policies.
Managing Visitors & Essential Business Services
As of June 29 2020, changes were made allowing for customers to visit and suppliers, as well as regular visits from suppliers that help manage inventory/supplies. The Admin staff at the front office will ensure the visitor form/procedure is completed when visitors arrive and sign-in.
The company has implemented a COVID-19 Visitor Procedure, which outlines requirements for visitors including:
- Updated symptoms listed as per BC Center of Disease Control
- Provision of a mask if physical distancing can not be maintained
- Restriction specific for those who have travelled outside of Canada, or someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days
- Been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone who has a suspected or confirmed infection of COVID-19
- Tested for COVID-19 and awaiting test results or have positive test result
- Information on best practices related to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19
Information and Resources
We encourage employees to stay informed and rely on trustworthy sources of information as the situation continues to evolve. Below are links to reliable and credible information on pandemic-related topics relevant for our employees at both primary locations:
HealthLink BC 811 – for medical issues requiring attention
BC Centre for Disease Control - www.bccdc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-dis...
World Health Organization - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019?gclid=EA...
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Interior Health - https://www.interiorhealth.ca/Pages/default.aspx
Canadian Mental Health and Well Being - https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health
What to do if you have the Symptoms?
In the event you have the symptoms:
1) Notify your Manager or Supervisor immediately.
2) Separate yourself from others as soon as you have symptoms
3) If you are outside the home when a symptom develops, go home immediately and avoid taking public transit
4) Call the 8-1-1 Health line to speak with health service navigator, for the next steps.
It is very important that we take these precautionary steps, while looking out for yourself and others, in order to carry on sustained business operations.